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Q: My partner and I want to move to the US from London. We are both self-employed in design/journalism and have been for around five years. It is feasible that my partner could continue to run his business in the UK from the US and may not need to get a working visa for the US, but I would need to be able to legally operate my business in the US with US clients. We don't really know much at all about what type of visa we might be able to get. Someone advised us to see a specialist visa lawyer but someone else advised that they are overly expensive and have no guarantees. Another person mentioned we might be able to work on an artist's visa - I assume that means that we still keep accounts in the UK and bill from the UK? As I am contemplating expanding my business, could I establish a corporation in the US and employ myself? I was able to get a visa and my partner and I were married, would he be able to work in the US then too? Any advice or pointers to trustworthy visa lawyers????
A: Lawyers, like doctors and many other professionals, never have guarantees because of the nature of the job. You certainly should hire an immigration lawyer. I would recommend it even for a routine case, and yours isn't routine. There are some US immigration lawyers in London, but they tend to be more expensive than those who practice inside the US. While an immigration lawyer is definitely a good idea, I think you may want to hold off just a little more. Learn about what options you have, and hire a lawyer only once you have a fairly good idea what you need. Otherwise, you would be wasting his time, and therefore your money. As a journalist, the first visa that comes to mind is the I visa. It would allow you to enter the US as a representative of foreign media. You would have to be sponsored by a British media company, but you can do that as a freelancer. Most other types of work visa require that you have a college degree in the field. You don't say whether that's the case. Even then, sponsoring by a company you start yourself can be tricky at best and should be handled only by experts. But the good news is that it can be done. It helps if you are at the top of your field professionally. Another important consideration is whether you plan to come to the US temporarily for a few years, or relocate permanently (immigrate).
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